By JEFF AMY
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – The Mississippi Department of Mental Health says it will eliminate 650 positions, some through layoffs, over the next year because of state budget cuts. The department says it’s reducing some services, but a few will be handed off to community mental health centers.
The cuts are among the highest-profile results of the austere budget passed by lawmakers. They come in the midst of a lawsuit alleging Mississippi relies too much on institutions, as opposed to community care. Despite the handoffs to community mental health centers, the department mainly seems poised to reduce services.
Democrats say the cuts show the Mississippi GOP’s policy of tax cuts and decreases in state services is the wrong approach.
Republicans acknowledged the decreases would lead to layoffs, but let the department decide what to trim.